NOTES is an artist-led Scottish periodical devoted to developing visual and critical discourses in contemporary photography. Its goals are to represent, examine and nurture Scottish photography thinking and practice through the creation of interdisciplinary and transnational connections.
This issue echoes some of the concerns raised in Issue 1, specifically those relating to land, ecology, environment, and identity – how we treat our planet and how we treat each other.
Sandy Sharp’s portfolio Another World: The Land of Ravenscraig, explores the regenerative qualities of the landscape surrounding a decommissioned hot strip steel mill. The images, void of human presence, remind us that while the earth and its processes are fragile, they will likely continue long after humanity is gone. As this outcome is no longer an abstract possibility, we asked ourselves how photographers are approaching the subject of landscape today. To this end, Sebastian Mary Tay draws together a survey of practitioners who uselandscape photography to discuss climate change.
Land and landscape are also tied to the identity of individuals and populations. Frances Scott and Miriam Chefrad use landscape to evoke and explore ideas of delimitation, identity and belonging. Scott’s carefully crafted black and white images, paired with a small handdrawn map of Orkney’s coastline, reveal her familiarity with and (re)discovery of the place she calls home. In contrast, Chefrad’s pictures of Lifta, a depopulated Arab village on the edge of Jerusalem, tell the story of the exiled people who once inhabited these homes.
Looking at and telling the stories of others, Seán Elder explores how the late Mark Morrisroe immortalised his love for his community through his life and work. Also featured are the deadpan and humorous self-portraits of Finnish photographer Iiu Susiraja. Both of these contributions remind us of the role photography plays in self-representation and selfdetermination, and the importance of discussing and creating space for these explorations.
This issue’s book reviewers are Frank McElhinney on Dave Ferrie’s Over Here Over There Over, John S. Webb on Iain Sarjeant’s book Out of the Ordinary Vol. 1, and Jennifer Farrar on Seeing Things by Joel Meyerowitz, who reminds us that visual literacy provides us with tools to see “another side to the story”.
“What happens here can change lives” – These words on a student protest banner,which greeted visitors to Glasgow School of Art’s Open Day in October 2016, demonstrate a resistance to the corporatisation of education. The banner denotes the students’ dissatisfaction and their willingness to try to create change through collective effort. To us, their actions alongside this banner are a potent reminder of the relevance of the arts and the artist’s role in refusing to accept the conditions of this world as given.